Seniors in Brampton are set to catch a break on the cost of taking public transit.
Residents aged 65 and older will be eligible for a new, $15 monthly transit pass when it comes into effect in August, according to Brampton city staff. The same pass currently costs $30.
“Today if you’re a senior living in Brampton life just got a little bit easier,” Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said at the Flower City Seniors Centre late last week.
Brown said the price reduction is part of an effort to implement a free fare pass for seniors by next year.
Other municipalities such as Burlington and Ottawa are experimenting with free rides for seniors on certain weekdays or during particular hours, but Brampton’s initiative would mark the first time a major city in Canada has offered completely free transit to seniors, Brown said.
The announcement is one element of a long-term plan to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions and offer free transit to residents by 2040.
The city’s goal to have free transit is outlined in the “Brampton 2040 Vision” planning document. The costs and benefits of the proposal, as well as alternative source of funding to make up for lost revenues, have not been explored.
Elisa Magee, a senior who lives in Brampton, said she supports the initiative.
“Anything that’s going to help me with a fixed income and budget is a great thing,” she told CBC Toronto.
The mayor explained the city recognizes the constraints faced by pensioners stuck on fixed incomes and that this initiative is a modest token of their appreciation for seniors.
“If we’re going to start with one group to cut transit in half and then move to free transit the year after, we can’t think of a more appropriate group than our seniors,” he said.
Alex Milojevic, general manager of Brampton transit, said that reducing costs for seniors will better connect the agency to its riders.
“It’s a very rare initiative to have reduced fare for seniors in the community,” said Milojevic.
“Very rare in our industry and rare across the world, so it’s something we’re very excited about.”